Dual-Layer DVD Burner Roundup
Sony DRU-710A Specifications
Like Plextor, Sony throws in a lot of extras with its DRU-710A dual-layer writer. The package includes a guide through Nero's software suite, operating instructions, a hardware quick-start guide, and a tutorial on replacing the front bezel with a black unit. The standard IDE interface cable, mounting screws, and software disc are all, of course, obligatory inclusions as well.
Outside of the bundled hardware, though, Sony doesn't advertise many additional drive features. It just sort-of, works. That's fine by us, as we'd rather spend time evaluating performance instead of deciphering marking speak, but it's certainly a different approach compared to most other manufacturers.
One interesting point to note is that Sony recently unveiled a new firmware for the DRU-710A that dramatically accelerates performance in dual-layer burns through an upgrade to 4x speeds. Although we had the opportunity to test that supercharged setting earlier in the month, it's only fair to mention that Sony has seemingly updated the drive's firmware once again, purportedly improving write quality and performance, but nixing the 4x DL setting (at least as far as Nero 6.6 recognizes). Perhaps Sony is trying to carve a market for its upcoming DRU-720, which officially does support 4x DVD+R DL.
Priced at $129, minus a $30 mail-in rebate, the Sony drive is a respectable buy. With the 4x DVD+R DL feature it would have been a contender for higher honors considering its leading DVD+R writing speeds, competitive CD-R performance, and thorough software bundle. We'll take the addition of 16x DVD-R in Sony's latest firmware as a valuable update, though.